Tag Archives: mental illness

Life After Mental Illness?

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So, I wrote a post last week about how I was about to stand in front of a crowd and host a show… the first time getting in front of a crowd since life was completely turned upside down by crippling anxiety that got so severe, it turned into constant panic attacks, which then led to agoraphobia.

I was in therapy for a long time. The first goal was to get me to a point where I could walk outside of my apartment. Then the goal was help to me in public spaces, like grocery stores and malls. Finally, through exposure therapy, the goal was to make me feel comfortable anywhere.  Me and my therapist wanted to completely get rid of that fear of the outside word.

In the beginning, it felt like I was stranded in the middle of an open ocean. Endless water. No shore in sight. It was overwhelming. I felt like I would drown in the outside world, with no place to rest my tired body.  And I won’t lie, I did in fact have many a panic attack during the early stages of therapy.   Dude, I was legit a fuckin’ mess hahah! I can’t even believe how crazy I was when I look back at it now.

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And why do we have those panic attacks? We fear that beneath the surface, there may danger. Like something is about to go wrong…like the world is about to fall apart.

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But over time, I got better. I got stronger. I grew brave. And after a while, the outside world didn’t scare me anymore. I realized that I allowed my agoraphobia to go on longer that I should have because I never challenged it. I allowed it to control me.

 

But then I stopped.  And do you know what happened last night?  Absolutely nothing. I went onto that stage and owned it. I didn’t shake. I didn’t freeze up. I didn’t even sweat. I was the best me I could have been, and it was amazing.

 

And guess what, I had a great time!  I loved the event last night, and it will be a memory I will always have!  Looking back, I’m like…I could have been doing this all along! I could have been experiencing all this exciting stuff for years now!  Why did I let anxiety control my life?????

And you know what happens when you stop fearing everything?

…you’re then able to realize how beautiful it all is.

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It’s never too late to live your life

~ The Dark Horse

Feeling like you need help?  Call your local Lifeline support line. Another great resource I love is an Aussie website called Beyond Blue

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EXPOSURE THERAPY: Or, I’m Bringing A Drag Queen To Campus

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Alright everyone, so, if you’ve read my blog for a while you will know that I used to have a little problem.  This super tiny, basically nonexistent problem was that I had agoraphobia. In fact, for a while I couldn’t even walk out the front door of my apartment without having a panic attack. And then for years after that, I struggled to be in open places.  Luckily for me, I had an amazing therapist who gave me what’s called Exposure Therapy.

For those who don’t know what it is, it’s basically exactly how it sounds. You get over your anxiety by being thrown into the situations that give you anxiety.  It’s hell, I’ll be honest. But damn, that shit works!

For me, I had gotten into therapy way too late. I didn’t start until I had formed a complete fear of the outside world. Anywhere that wasn’t my house was a source of anxiety. Also, I’m gay and have always acted really weird around straight guys (because they were always mean to me) and I was especially weird around hot jock straight guys (because…you know, alpha male types are straight up cunts). Anyways, so my therapist, being the clever bitch she is, figured the perfect solution…. I was going to do my exposure therapy at the football stadium on campus…

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And not only would I be doing it there, but I would be doing it DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE FOOTBALL TEAM AS THEY HAD THEIR PRACTICE.

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Yes, that’s right. She had me run up and down the bleachers, and then run onto the football field as they practiced and spin in circles to make myself dizzy… all right in front of the football team.  The goal was to make me feel like I was going to pass out, and then show me that I didn’t pass out.

Look people, it wasn’t easy.  In fact, as I ran the bleachers I was screaming profane things at my therapist.

“You’re a fucking cunt! You’re a fucking cunt! You’re a fucking cunt!” I screamed over and over.

She simply responded with, “You know, it’s weird, I didn’t know that people who were about to pass out had the energy to scream like that.”

I ended up really loving this girl. She was amazing and was exactly what I needed in a therapist, I just didn’t know it.

 

ANYWAYS, so what does all this have to do with Drag Queens right???? 

Well, one of my internships on campus is making episodes for a podcast. Back in January, the guy who runs the podcast was like, “Hey, can you make an event happen? An event would be great publicity.”  Now, I didn’t know much about drag, but I thought it would so bright and colorful to have an event with a drag queen.  And how much fun right? I’m all about having people learn in a fun setting. Trying to learn when you’re bored as fuck is impossible.

So, I’ve been spending the past few months making arrangements and learning everything there is to know about drag. It’s been a whirlwind, and now, it’s almost here. I am actually going to be hosting the event!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  I’m going to be the one on-stage hosting the event and asking the questions. And here’s the thing….

This is going to be my first time on stage since developing anxiety.

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That’s right. I’m going to be in front of an auditorium that seats 200 people, with all eyes on me.  This is Exposure Therapy 2.0 bitches, and I’m determined to make this fun. I’m determined to not get anxious or have a panic attack in front of a crowd. I want to make people laugh. I want them to have fun, and to enjoy themselves.

And on top of that, I’m going to keep learning. This is the next step of my journey. I’ve done a great job of getting back into society, but this is my chance to crawl out from the shadows. I’ve always been a natural entertainer. A natural people-person. The anxiety and depression just kind of masked that for like… over a decade. But it’s never too late.

Do you understand that?

It’s never ever too late.

We can always grow and always be better. Depression and anxiety does not control us. We control them.

And furthermore, this goes beyond depression and anxiety. This is true for all of us, from people with PTSD, to someone who is having a midlife crisis, or anyone who just feels like they aren’t living to their true potential.   You aren’t dead are you?  No, I didn’t think so. And since you’re alive, it means you’re able to change.

To grow.

To be better.

To be happy.

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If this boy from Indiana can have the balls to put on a dress, then trust me, we can have the balls to change our lives.

 

Let’s Do This!

~ The Dark Horse

What Does This Dream Mean?

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Alright everyone, I have some questions for you that I want answers to. For the past few weeks I’ve been having dreams – Weird and stressful dreams.

 

The first dream I’ve been having for every night for the past few weeks.  This is a “chase” dream.  There is always some man (sometimes with a knife in hand) chasing me and a group of other people around.  I always end up somehow on my own, and nothing ever goes right.

There will be locked doors I can’t get into, no police in sight, no weapons for me to sue to fight back, and of course it’s ALWAYS dark outside.

The feeling in these dreams isn’t so much fear as it is stress.

When I’m running from this man, and I try to knock on a door, screaming my ass off, trying frantically to open it – the thought going through my head isn’t “Oh my God Im going to die!” , but it instead it’s, “Of course this door isn’t fucking opening because this is just how the world is!  Nobody is ever fucking there to help me!”

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There is nowhere to hide.  All I can do is try and outrun him.  All I can do turn left down a street, then right, then left, maybe hide next to a dumpster in an alleyway.  But of course, he always walks down that alleyway, so it’s only a temporary solution.  There are never any people on the streets in my dreams, and the group of people I’m with in the beginning always run off in some opposite direction and I never see them again.   It’s me playing a constant cat-and-mouse game with the killer.

 

Now here is where it gets even weirder:  Twice in this span of a few weeks where I’m having this chase dream, the killer hasn’t been a man….but dinosaurs.  Namely, the T Rex.

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The first dream was very Jurassic Park.  Except, just like the dream before, it was like Jurassic Park in the worst case scenario.  There were no cars or jeeps in my dream.  The compound was (of course) locked.  We had no weapons of any kind, and there was no way off the island.  It was once again me against the elements…and dinosaurs.  Having nowhere to hide…only to run.  And no matter where you’d go… you’d begin to hear the footsteps coming closer.

The sounds of rustling, and the roar of a large dinosaur.  Then when you knew it was close, you’d have to run again.  Always running.

 

The second dinosaur dream I had was more of the Jurassic Park: Lost World, or more precisely, a Cloverfield plot. We were in a major city with a T Rex (amongst other dinosaurs) running amok.  It had all the issues of the first dream, expect this time it had all the problems of your standard post-apocalyptic story as well.

You could run and ask someone for help…but would you trust them? …would they even trust you?  And if they did invite you in, we’re they wanting to help…or were they just hoping that they could throw you in front of a dinosaur to ensure their escape?   At one point we were on this guy’s boat floating down a river and watching people on the streets of the city.  People were begging to be let into boarded up houses and the homeowner would shoot them straight through their boarded up doors.

 

+++Now that I’m writing this post, I’m pretty damn these dreams must have centered around my trust issues and feeling of societal abandonment. +++

I wake up rom these dreams exhausted.  I have after all, been running for my life all dam

 

 

And here is the second weird dream.  This a reoccurring dream I have been having for years.  And every few weeks, I’m guaranteed to have it again.

 

I have a loose tooth in the dream.  A very, very loose tooth.  A tooth so loose that it’s literally hanging on by a thread.  I can move my tongue and feel the indent in my gum where the tooth should be.  I can move my tongue underneath the bottom of the tooth as well.   It’s literally only being held into my mouth with just one little vein attached.

I sit there, stricken with fear.  What does this mean, I ask myself in the dream.  Am I sick?  Am I diseased?  Why is this tooth falling out?  Am I so unhealthy that I’m losing my teeth???  But, I’m in public.  Always in a classroom or out to dinner.  I’m desperately trying to control my anxiety so those around me don’t notice my distress. I’m doing this because I know that they don’t want to hear my problems…nobody is ever there for you..

 

…WOW… ok.  Well, I think I know the meaning of these dreams now. 

 

Does anyone out there know more?  Anyone out there hip on the whole “dream meaning” scene?  I’d love to know people’s thoughts as to what this all might mean (aside from the glaringly obvious I suppose)  or more importantly, what to do about these feelings?

 

Dream on! (In the good way I hope)

~ The Dark Horse

 

This World’s a Bitch, and Don’t Let a Bitch Hold You Back!

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So, life is insane, ya know that?  I mean like… it’s really fuckin’ crazy.

One of the craziest things is how your life can change.

 

When I was 22 and graduated from undergrad, I was lost and broken.  I had no friends, I didn’t take advantage of an University resource (because to be honest, I didn’t believe that my University cared about me.)  I left college with no internship experience, no references, and no plan.

The only thing I managed to do in undergrad was manage a Pinkberry so I could I could afford to pay for college.  However, 14 an hour doesn’t go very far when you combine living in LA + college tuition (even with the financial aid i received).  And furthermore, when you spend 50hrs a week at Pinkberry, you don’t really have the time utilize the school you’re working so damn hard to pay for!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the biggest problems with America.  This “meritocracy” is fake as fuck.

It’s a hard-ass world out there if you’re not born into money.

 

But that’s a different blog post for a different day.  The point of this post is talk about how, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against the common man, we can still overcome them.  We can still thrive.  We don’t have to bend over and blindly let the world fuck us silly.

It’s time to rise up and fight back, after all, this is our lives.  We can’t give up and accept defeat that easily.  They may have more tools and resources, than we do.  But some spunk and moxie can go a long way!

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So the past few years I’ve been wandering around the world, doing random jobs and being bored to death and feeling like no matter where I go in this world, I’ll still be bored and lonely.

I was mad because I knew I was smart.  I knew I was intelligent.  I knew I could do all the things that I wasn’t getting the opprotunity for.   I knew I just needed a chance.  I just needed some symbol that showed others to take me seriously.

So I had an idea:  The prestige of the world have more resources and reputation… so why not use those too?  So, I applied to Harvard.  I was going to FORCE this world to take me seriously.

Elle Woods became my hero.  She was a symbol of someone that the world didn’t believe in.  But she believed in herself.  She knew was smart.  She knew she could do it.

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Anyways, lets flash-forward to right now.  I’ve been at Harvard for about a year now and I’m absolutely loving it.  And no, not every second has been daisies and lollipops.  Just like anywhere else, sometimes you get professors who don’t like you, and sometimes you do bad on a paper, but overall, I think it’s been an amazing experience.  The people I know here are, in general, awesome.

 

But most importantly, I’m growing as a person and the doors of opprotunity are finally opening up for me (which for a good number of years there, I genuinely thought would never happen).

For example, I just got word that I got accepted as a summer intern in Kuala Lumpur!

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And now, next week I have an interview for an internship in China!

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Ok, also I realize this post is bordering on sounding like I’m bragging.  I promise that’s not the case.   Don’t get me wrong, Im proud of myself and Im so fuckin excited for the summer now.

But I’m writing to show an example that even raging shit-shows can work hard and make something of themselves.  It’s never too late.  You’re never too old.  You’re never too stupid.

As my therapist always told me, “Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid and even if they knew, they wouldn’t care…that’s part of being stupid.  If you’re fearing that you’re not good enough it’s most likely because you are in-fact good enough.  Usually it’s the smart people who have the ability to question their abilities.”  

 

So cmon people.  Let’s rock this shit out.  Our lives can be so meaningful.  And if you’re someone who already feels like your live has meaning, than that’s awesome!  I hope someday we all can.

 

And remember, when the world’s being a bitch….

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…put on your shades and give em’ hell. 

 

~ The Dark Horse

I do too my proofreading for school…so no, i didn’t proofread this post 🙂

The Best Mental Health Resource You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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So, one of the best resources for depression and anxiety I’ve ever experienced is an Australian website called Beyondblue.  Now, since most of you reading this have never lived in Australia, you probably have never heard of Beyondblue, hence the post!

It’s a great site that is friendly and fun (which really there isn’t enough of when talking about mental health).

The best part is that it covers EVERYTHING there is to cover.  If you scroll down on their homepage, you’ll find this:

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Who cares if this website wasn’t designed for our country, it’s great!  Plus it’s fun and funny.  I mean, just look at this video:

 

Now, this is not a paid advertisement I’m writing here  (although, fuck that would be amazing if I actually made money from this little blog)   But why I’m writing about this is actually because it is so important. 

Everything: Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and Panic.  They’re all so scary to go through alone.  They’re extremely distressing.  That’s why it’s such a relief to go onto a website that is bright colorful, friendly, and funny.

We need that stuff!

We need more people telling us how to prepare ourselves for the bad times, how to live through the bad times, and how to thrive after them.   I hate always having people look at depression and stuff as like, “Well, my life is over…too bad.”

But that isn’t the case.   I remember when the show Lady Dynamite came out on Netflix there was a review for it that said, this isn’t a show about living with mental illness, it’s a show about thriving with mental illness. 

And I love that.  Let’s all learn to thrive.  It’s hard, sure.  But damn, it’s gotta be worth it!

Check out Beyonblue below!

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety

Save Yourself With Your Passion

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So, writing is bringing new hope and adventure my life.  For those of you who don’t know or haven’t been reading my blog (which…who is?  I don’t think I have any hardcore followers)  Anyways, as a recap, I’m currently studying Creative Writing and Literature.

And I love it.   I love making stories.  I love taking the horrible crap of my life and turning it into stories.  I love making people smile.  I love making people laugh.  I love inspiring people.

 I just fucking love it. 

 

And you know what?  I’m 27 now and I keep asking myself, WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?  Why am I just now taking control of my life?  Why am I just now starting to feel alive?

The answer is sad, but obvious.  I never thought I was worth it. I have been put down so much in my life, and told that I’ll amount to nothing, that I ended up fucking believed it.   AND YOU KNOW WHATS EVEN WORSE???  It was this weird internalized belief.  Like I didn’t think I was worthless because people told me I was, I just deeply and truly had a sense that I was worthless.   That feeling burrowed deep within me, planting roots in the depths of everything I was (and am).

For those of you who read my last 2 posts about sex addiction, then let me say, I think that internalized feeling of worthlessness is also what led me to using sex as a form of relief.   I didn’t think I was better than a random man off Grindr.  I didn’t; think I was worth anymore that a one night stand, BECAUSE LOOK AT ME?  WHO WOULD WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS? is what I would tell myself.

 

But fuck.  Something deep within me is changing.  Harvard is changing me.   When the editor of the Harvard Review says she likes your style and wants to help you, the stone walls you’ve built up around yourself begin to crumble.  Finally, you have a voice to contradict the people of your past.

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And this blog is what started it all.  I started writing this in 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. I was suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia.  I needed to write to save myself.  And I still do it to this day.   My passion is giving me reason to live.  And I can’t believe it took me so long to see that this passion is real.  It isn’t my “head in the clouds” or “me not growing up”.  It’s a passion I have and a passion I need.  Writing is part of me, and I love it.

 

So for any of you out there struggling, do you have passions?  And if not, do you have anything you love doing but don’t know if it’s a passion?  Do you have anything you really wanted to do but are too scared to try?   Because I can tell you that working towards something real has helped me a lot.

Having sex constantly didn’t make me happy.

Listening to the world and getting a 9-5 job I hate because, and I quote, “I should just be thankful I’m not homeless” never made me happy.

Hating myself and my life everyday never made me happy.

But working towards a passion did.  

Alright, let’s end this with a good gif?  Cuz who this fuck doesn’t like a good gif right?

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Remember:  If Vader can have fun as Disneyland, than it’s never too late for us to change out ways either!

 

~ The Dark Horse